Workers Hold Pickets For Right To Improve Care

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Healthcare workers at four nursing homes across Northern California conducted simultaneous informational pickets on Tuesday, objecting to their employer's unwillingness to bargain over legitimate proposals for fair wages and improving resident care.

Picketing at the four homes -- located in Fremont, Monterey and Salinas -- began at 2 p.m., with hundreds of workers represented by SEIU United Healthcare Worker-West carrying bullhorns and signs outside the facilities. Caregivers who participated in the pickets said they did so because negotiations over a new contract have gone nowhere.

"We've made several proposals that would help improve resident care at these facilities, but Windsor management is not listening," said Robert Richardson, who works at Monterey Care Center. "The longer they refuse to work fairly with us, the less we're able to provide the highest level of care to our community's most vulnerable residents."

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The four homes are owned by West Hollywood-based Windsor, one of the largest nursing home chains in California. The company has annual revenues of more than $120 million, and has launched an aggressive growth plan, recently acquiring 13 homes in Northern California, including the four that were picketed Tuesday.

Contracts at the four Windsor homes expired in August. Caregivers are looking for affordable health insurance, a fair wage increase, a retirement plan and employer contributions to a training and education fund in their new contract. So far, Windsor management has proposed only a 25-cent wage increase that would not take effect until next year.

The workers' proposals mirror the wage and benefit packages provided to Windsor employees at several other Northern California facilities. At those homes, better wages and benefits have helped reduce turnover and improve resident care.

The 145,000-member SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West is the largest hospital and healthcare union in the western United States and represents every type of healthcare worker, including nurses, professional, technical and service classifications. Our mission is to achieve high-quality healthcare for all.

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